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Apple iOS App Store removes first ever spam app

'Find and Call' app spams users' contact list

Apple iOS App Store

Apple’s iOS App Store has allowed its first spam app to get onto the store and cause problems for users.

The iOS App Store allows users of iPhones and iPads to download new software on their products to perform a wide variety of functions. Apple has a strict approval policy of apps, designed to maintain quality and prevent malware getting through.

For more information read our advice guide on the Apple iOS App Store.

This is the first time a malicious app has got through Apple’s thorough testing process and been allowed to be downloaded onto iPhones.

The app, called ‘Find and Call’, downloaded each users contact information and then sent a message in Russian promoting the app from the phone to each contact.

Apple has removed the app from its App Store and Google has suspended the Android version on its Google Play store, but we would suggest any user that has downloaded the app to uninstall it immediately.

The app was identified by the anti-virus company Kaspersky, although the developers of the app claimed it was a bug rather than malicious programming.

iPhone address book exploits

It’s not the first time apps have got in trouble for the way they use the address book. Though not in the same class as this app, which actively spams contacts downloaded from people’s phones, numerous social networks – including Twitter – were reprimanded for storing contact information on their own servers. While users gave them permission to access the info to help ‘find friends’ on the social network, it wasn’t made clear Twitter and others were storing this information for a prolonged period of time.

In the event major tech firms, including Apple, Google, Amazon and numerous others, agreed a voluntary code of code of conduct for app privacy disclosure to help prevent future issues, though it’s unclear yet what those rules are and when they’re being implemented.

Andy Vandervell, deputy technology editor at Which?, said: ‘This is another reminder that people should guard their personal data carefully, particularly when third parties are requesting access to it. Such requests are typically meant for the user’s benefit but, unless you’re 100% confident in the app’s legitimacy, think twice before agreeing.’

More on this…

  • Apple iOS App Store explained – what it is and how to use it
  • Smartphone security – how to keep your data safe
  • Apple iPhone 4S review – how did the smartphone perform in our tests?
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